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France | Lessons from Agricultural Archeology

Since he first set foot in Vachères-en-Quint in La Drôme, France, almost half a century ago, Sjoerd Wartena has followed in the footsteps of the older generation, who taught him how to farm and raise animals in these austere uplands. Still fascinated by the ways of our predecessors, he has taken to tracing the remnants of farming practices indigenous to the area. Here he reflects on what we can learn from past generations and their ability to adapt to harsh conditions. […]

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France | Letter To The Next Generation

Sjoerd Wartena first went “back to nature” almost half a century ago. In this letter to the younger generation he reflects on our relationship with nature and the land, the importance of modelling change, and the role of humility and compassion in giving humanity a second chance. […]

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ARC2020 – New Report on CAP Strategic Plans

Throughout 2020, ARC2020’s Matteo Metta, along with Hans Wetzels and Rosa Melina Armijo Campos have worked on the Common Agriculture Policy, CAP, specifically the unfolding of the CAP Strategic Plans process. This work has formed the content of our dedicated CAP Strategic Plans section, and the new report which has been compiled from these policy analysis pieces. Below we present the introduction to this new report, and have made available the report to download here too.  […]

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Ireland | Wake Up and Smell the Ammonia

In Ireland, dangerous levels of ammonia emissions are driven largely by the burgeoning cattle population. Yet policymakers are turning a blind eye to the link between ammonia pollution and the expanding national herd. The evidence shows that Ireland is pursuing growth in the agri-food sector at the expense of air quality, biodiversity and human health, reports Alison Brogan. […]

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Belgium | The Hidden Cost of Food Waste Redistribution

Redistributing food waste is surely a win for the environment and for society. So why is it such an uphill struggle? In the Belgian capital, a project called ‘Feed the culture’ helps out workers in the arts sector who are struggling to put food on the table because of the COVID-19 closures. Natasha Foote speaks to the volunteers on the ground in Brussels. […]

algal bloom in the central Baltic Sea
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Poland | Drowning in Algae: Dead Zones in the Baltic Sea

Marine life in the Baltic Sea is drowning in algae. Largely to blame is nutrient run-off from intensive pig producers, thanks to a model of factory farming largely unchecked by EU regulations. Experts are calling for closed nutrient cycles to combat eutrophication – and engaging with the polluters to find solutions. Hans Wetzels reports from Poland. […]

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UK | What’s in the New Agriculture Act?

The era of direct payments in the UK is ending. Farm policy in the UK just took a step forward into the post CAP era this week with the royal assent on the Agriculture Bill. Now an Act of parliament, it represents a pretty radical new approach to farm support – paying farmers for the public goods or benefits they provide. […]

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New Seed Platform – Seeds4All – Launches

Seeds4All is dedicated to seed diversity, and it aims to “give visibility to all European organisations that collect, enrich, produce, disseminate and sustainably use traditional and new varieties of seeds belonging to the public domain, freely reproducible and not genetically modified.” […]

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Czech Republic | Wrangling with the Next Generation

Meet Czech farmer Terezie Daňková, who raises cattle and sheep on a 450 ha. ranch on mostly rented land in Southern Bohemia, with the help of her cowgirl daughter Barbora (20), her son Vojtěch (13), and a stable of horses. Louise Kelleher speaks to two generations of women farmers about the realities of rural life, the pull of the city, and what brings them back to the farm. […]

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Ireland | EIPs make the case for a better CAP

A group of EIPs – European Innovation Partnerships – has come together in Ireland to argue the case for this environmentally engaged form of farming. So what’s next – will some of the methods and approaches used in these EIPs become templates for other farming regions in Ireland, or for the design of CAP schemes, or for more market-orientated approaches such as PDO and PGI? Here we publish a joint letter by a number of EIPs from Ireland to help stimulate this debate.  […]

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Catcher in the Rye: Breeding Diversity for Unpredictable Conditions

The new EU organic regulation, to be implemented in 2022, promises new opportunities especially for young farmers to regain control and knowledge of local conservation, breeding, sustainable use and marketing of seeds fit for organic production. As part of the team that negotiated the new EU organic regulation, ARC2020 President Hannes Lorenzen is curious about how the new less restrictive conditions for organic seed production and marketing will impact breeders and farmers. He spoke to an organic plant breeder and a young farmer about their ideas on the future of seeds. […]